Next to property damage, the costliest expense you are likely concerned about in a car accident are your medical expenses. Even being involved in a fender bender can cost you thousands of dollars if you experience a back or neck injury. You may be concerned about the coverage for the medical expenses related to your car accident. Fortunately, if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, there is a good chance that you can recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses. Our Chicago car accident lawyers discuss how you go about filing a claim and recovering compensation for your medical bills below.
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Who Can Cause a Car Accident?
Car accidents can occur in a number of ways and various parties can be liable. If another driver’s negligence causes your accident, there is a good chance that you can hold that driver liable for any damages you suffered. Some common examples of driver negligence include speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, and failing to follow traffic laws.
Some other parties that could be liable for a car accident include:
- The driver’s employer
- A vehicle manufacturers
- A repair shop
- The government agency responsible for the maintenance of the road where your accident took place
- A private property owner
How Your Medical Bills Can Get Covered
Even if you plan on suing the driver responsible for your accident, you are still required to cover the costs of your medical bills. If you’re insured, you can seek compensation through your own health insurance policy. Allowing your personal health insurance policy to cover the costs of your injuries helps prevent you from going into debt. When you decide to take legal action against the other driver and win compensation from your lawsuit, you can reimburse your health insurance company for the provided coverage.
Health Insurance Policy Limits
However, there is one issue you will come across that can impact the extent to which your injuries are covered. That issue is your policy’s limits. Your medical bills will increase if you suffered catastrophic injuries from your car accident. The policy limit on your health insurance may not be enough to cover the costs of your expenses fully. Fortunately, there are other insurance policies you can use that can cover the costs of your medical bills.
Personal Auto Insurance Policy
One of the other insurance policies is your personal auto insurance policy. Like your health insurance policy, your auto insurance policy has different coverage options for your physical injuries. Depending on the policy, insurance options offer coverage for your injuries regardless of who was at fault. Like your health insurance policy, you will have the chance to reimburse your auto insurance company when you win your requested compensation in your lawsuit.
Auto Insurance Policies for Physical Injuries
Some auto insurance policies that can help cover the costs of your medical expenses include personal injury protection, uninsured motorist coverage, and medical payments coverage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal injury protection is insurance coverage that pays for various types of damages from a car accident. You can use PIP coverage to pay for your medical expenses or lost wages that you endured from a car accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage provides financial compensation for the damage that an uninsured driver caused. If the at-fault driver at your accident was uninsured, you can use this coverage to pay for your medical bills. Because uninsured motorist coverage covers both property damage and bodily injury, you must specify what type of coverage you want to get paid with an insurance adjuster.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage is an insurance policy that provides explicit financial compensation for the medical expenses you have to pay for your accident. This coverage also applies regardless of who is at fault. Because not all states permit this type of coverage, ask about this type of policy with your insurance company.
Pursuing Compensation from the Other Driver’s Insurance Policy
In cases where another driver was at fault for your accident, your best bet is filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance policy. Even if you filed a lawsuit against the other driver for your injuries, you will still be required to interact with the other driver’s insurance company. Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company will be a way to receive your compensation without resorting to a trial.
Like yourself, the other driver must carry specific coverage types while driving, including liability coverage. Liability coverage exists to ensure that drivers who injure others are able to pay for victims’ accident-related losses.
Denial of Insurance Claims
Unfortunately, filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company has its own issues. One of the main issues is receiving a denial letter regarding your claim. All insurance companies have the same agenda: to avoid paying out as many claims as possible.
Even when the other driver is the at-fault driver of your accident, insurance companies will find ways to avoid paying your justified claim. It should be no surprise when you receive a denial from the other driver’s insurance company. The other driver’s insurance company does not want to admit the other driver’s guilt and pay out your claim unless forced to do so.
Fortunately, an attorney familiar with personal injury claims will know how to get the other driver’s insurance policy to pay out.
Some of the things that a car accident lawyer can do for you include:
- Identifying all parties that may be at fault for your accident
- Evaluating all of your economic and non-economic losses
- Filing a claim with supporting documentation
- Attempting to negotiate a settlement with the other party’s insurance company
- Filing a lawsuit on your behalf
Filing a Lawsuit for Car Accident Injuries
You can file a lawsuit whether your insurance company denies your claim or the other driver’s insurance company does. You can file a lawsuit against the other driver to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The other driver is responsible for your car accident, which is a personal injury accident. Several benefits come with filing a lawsuit against the other driver.
One of the common reasons that insurance companies deny accident claims is because they deny that their insured was at fault for the accident. In a car accident lawsuit, you have the opportunity to establish the other driver as the at-fault driver of your accident. Establishing liability in a lawsuit involves providing evidence of fault, which can include eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, onboard vehicle data, and accident reconstructionist testimony.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Another benefit of filing a lawsuit for your car accident is that the insurance companies will have a significant incentive to settle your claim. Juries are often very unpredictable, and the fact that you have filed a lawsuit at all may be enough to get them to make a reasonable settlement offer.
During your lawsuit, you will have an opportunity to negotiate with the insurance adjusters and discuss a reasonable amount of compensation to agree to. This time will be when the insurance company must explain its reasons for denying your claim. The investigation usually reveals that the insurance company’s reasons for denying your claim were frivolous.
How Insurance Companies Get Victims to Settle for Less
Once you have filed your lawsuit against the insurance company, insurance adjusters may use several deceptive practices against you. One of the most common tactics that insurance adjusters will use is finding ways to make you give them your medical records. Insurance adjusters are known to contact car accident victims and request that they release copies of their medical records to insurance adjusters for “additional information.”
Typically, insurance adjusters only want copies of your medical records to search for any pre-existing conditions you have that could allow them to reduce their settlement offer. Insurance adjusters will, if possible, attempt to blame your injuries from your accident on your pre-existing conditions.
Requesting Recorded Statements
Another common tactic that insurance adjusters use is to request a recorded statement from you. Again, there is an ulterior motive behind this request. Insurance adjusters do not need you to provide additional information about your car accident. They plan on reviewing your recorded statement and searching for any statements they can use to deny your claim or minimize your settlement. When it comes to the facts presented in a claim, insurance adjusters will scrutinize the answers given and search for any contradictory information that allows them to dismiss your claim.
Insurance adjusters may hire investigators to follow car accident victims around and take pictures of them while they perform various tasks. While insurance companies still do this from time to time, social media has made it easier for insurance adjusters to gather evidence against car accident victims. Insurance adjusters can search a car accident victim’s profile and make copies of photos or posts they can use against them. That is why lawyers advise car accident victims on how to proceed on social media once they file their claim.
Providing Legal Protection for Yourself
How do you win a car accident claim by yourself? Don't. Getting an auto accident attorney to help you with your claim is the first step. Hiring a car accident lawyer to help with your lawsuit can increase the odds of obtaining a fair settlement. Unfortunately, many insurance adjusters will not properly handle your claim unless they know that a lawyer represents you. The representation of a lawyer will ensure that the insurance adjusters investigate your claim fairly.
Make Sure You File Your Claim on Time
Another benefit of hiring a lawyer to represent you in your claim is that your lawyer can file it promptly. Some car accident victims make the mistake of waiting to file their lawsuit, especially when it involves medical expenses, thinking they should wait until their treatment is finished before moving forward. . Some victims may not know the statute of limitations and file their lawsuit past the required deadline. By retaining an attorney, you will ensure that your claim is filed on time and that you do not jeopardize your legal rights.
Consider all of Your Medical Expenses
One of the benefits of filing a lawsuit is that you can seek compensation for your damages, particularly your medical bills - including those that you have not yet incurred. Insurance companies may try to offer you a lowball settlement during your lawsuit. Insurance adjusters will lie and state that the offer is the largest compensation the company can offer.
In reality, the amount of compensation offered is not even enough to cover a portion of your medical expenses and does not take into account expenses you may incur in the future. A lawyer can assess the settlement offer and prevent you from being lowballed by the insurance company. A lawyer can accurately factor your medical expenses and measure the calculations against the insurance company’s offer.
Your Settlement May Pay Back Your Existing Medical Bills
When you receive compensation from your car accident lawsuit, you will have several parties to reimburse from your compensation. The first party will be your lawyer. The next party will be your health insurance or auto insurance company. If your personal health insurance policy covered your medical bills, the compensation you will owe your insurance company will be what the policy covered.
Personal Injury Lawyers often Work on a Contingency Fee Basis
Your lawyer will receive a portion of your compensation because they will get paid on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee basis is an arrangement between a lawyer and a client about how the lawyers’ fees get paid once their services are complete.
With a contingency fee arrangement, you will not pay hourly fees to your lawyer. Instead, you agree to submit a portion of your compensation to your lawyer if you are successful in your claim. If you do not recover any money, you will not be responsible for paying any legal fees.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
There are several options when you seek compensation for your medical expenses in a car accident. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer about the best legal course of action to take. Do not miss out on the opportunity to recover compensation by waiting too long to speak to an auto accident attorney.